[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The parasitioid wasp genus Nasonia has rapidly become a genetic model system for developmental and evolutionary biology. The release of its genome sequence led to the development of high-resolution genomic tools, for both interspecific and intraspecific research, which has resulted in great advances in understanding Nasonia biology. To further advance the utility of Nasonia vitripennis as a genetic model system and to be able to fully exploit the advantages of its fully sequenced and annotated genome, we developed a genetically variable and well characterized experimental population. In this paper, we describe the establishment of the genetically diverse HVRx laboratory population from strains collected from the field in the Netherlands. We established a maintenance method that retains genetic variation over generations of culturing in the laboratory. As a characterization of its genetic composition, we provide data on the standing genetic variation and estimate the effective population size (Ne ) by microsatellite analysis. A genome-wide description of polymorphism is provided through pooled resequencing, which yielded 417,331 high-quality SNPs spanning all five Nasonia chromosomes. The HVRx population and its characterization are freely available as a community resource for investigators seeking to elucidate the genetic basis of complex trait variation using the Nasonia model system. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The evolution and maintenance of intraspecific communication channels constitute a key feature of chemical signalling and sexual communication. However, how divergent chemical communication channels evolve while maintaining their integrity for both sender and receiver is poorly understood. In this study, we compare male and female cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profiles in the jewel wasp genus Nasonia, analyse their chemical divergence and investigate their role as species-specific sexual signalling cues. Males and females of all four Nasonia species showed unique, nonoverlapping CHC profiles unambiguously separating them. Surprisingly, male and female phylogenies based on the chemical distances between their CHC profiles differed dramatically, where only male CHC divergence parallels the molecular phylogeny of Nasonia. In particular, N. giraulti female CHC profiles were the most divergent from all other species and very different from its most closely related sibling species N. oneida. Furthermore, although our behavioural assays indicate that female CHC profiles can generally be perceived as sexual cues attracting males in Nasonia, this function has apparently been lost in the highly divergent female N. giraulti CHC profiles. Curiously, N. giraulti males are still attracted to heterospecific, but not to conspecific female CHC profiles. We suggest that this striking discrepancy has been caused by an extensive evolutionary shift in female N. giraulti CHC profiles, which are no longer used as conspecific recognition cues. Our study constitutes the first report of an apparent abandonment of a sexual recognition cue that the receiver did not adapt to.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 10/2013; · 3.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyploidy is rarer in animals than in plants. Why? Since Muller's observation in 1925, many hypotheses have been proposed and tested, but none were able to completely explain this intriguing fact. New genomic technologies enable the study of whole genomes to explain the constraints on or consequences of polyploidization, rather than focusing on specific genes or life history characteristics. Here, we review a selection of old and recent literature on polyploidy in animals, with emphasis on the consequences of polyploidization for gene expression patterns and genomic network interactions. We propose a conceptual model to contrast various scenarios for changes in genomic networks, which may serve as a framework to explain the different evolutionary dynamics of polyploidy in animals and plants. We also present new insights of genetic sex determination in animals and our emerging understanding of how animal sex determination systems may hamper or enable polyploidization, including some recent data on haplodiploids. We discuss the role of polyploidy in evolution and ecology, using a gene regulation perspective, and conclude with a synopsis regarding the effects of whole genome duplications on the balance of genomic networks. See also the sister articles focusing on plants by Ashman et al. and Madlung and Wendel in this themed issue.
Cytogenetic and Genome Research 06/2013; · 1.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Living in seasonally changing environments requires adaptation to seasonal cycles. Many insects use the change in day length as a reliable cue for upcoming winter and respond to shortened photoperiod through diapause. In this study, we report the clinal variation in photoperiodic diapause induction in populations of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis collected along a latitudinal gradient in Europe. In this species, diapause occurs in the larval stage and is maternally induced. Adult Nasonia females were exposed to different photoperiodic cycles and lifetime production of diapausing offspring was scored. Females switched to the production of diapausing offspring after exposure to a threshold number of photoperiodic cycles. A latitudinal cline was found in the proportion of diapausing offspring, the switch point for diapause induction measured as the maternal age at which the female starts to produce diapausing larvae, and the critical photoperiod for diapause induction. Populations at northern latitudes show an earlier switch point, higher proportions of diapausing individuals and longer critical photoperiods. Since the photoperiodic response was measured under the same laboratory conditions, the observed differences between populations most likely reflect genetic differences in sensitivity to photoperiodic cues, resulting from local adaptation to environmental cycles. The observed variability in diapause response combined with the availability of genomic tools for N. vitripennis represent a good opportunity to further investigate the genetic basis of this adaptive trait.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 03/2013; · 3.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An attractive way to improve our understanding of sex determination evolution is to study the underlying mechanisms in closely related species and in a phylogenetic perspective. Hymenopterans are well suited owing to the diverse sex determination mechanisms, including different types of Complementary Sex Determination (CSD) and maternal control sex determination. We investigated different types of CSD in four species within the braconid wasp genus Asobara that exhibit diverse life-history traits. Nine to thirteen generations of inbreeding were monitored for diploid male production, brood size, offspring sex ratio, and pupal mortality as indicators for CSD. In addition, simulation models were developed to compare these observations to predicted patterns for multilocus CSD with up to ten loci. The inbreeding regime did not result in diploid male production, decreased brood sizes, substantially increased offspring sex ratios nor in increased pupal mortality. The simulations further allowed us to reject CSD with up to ten loci, which is a strong refutation of the multilocus CSD model. We discuss how the absence of CSD can be reconciled with the variation in life-history traits among Asobara species, and the ramifications for the phylogenetic distribution of sex determination mechanisms in the Hymenoptera.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e60459. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activity rhythms in 24 h light-dark cycles, constant darkness, and constant light conditions were analyzed in four different Nasonia species for each sex separately. Besides similarities, clear differences are evident among and within Nasonia species as well as between sexes. In all species, activity in a light-dark cycle is concentrated in the photophase, typical for diurnal organisms. Contrary to most diurnal insect species so far studied, Nasonia follows Aschoff's rule by displaying long (>24 h) internal rhythms in constant darkness but short (<24 h) in constant light. In constant light, N. vitripennis males display robust circadian activity rhythms, whereas females are usually arrhythmic. In contrast to other Nasonia species, N. longicornis males display anticipatory activity, i.e. activity shortly before light-on in a light-dark cycle. As expected, N. oneida shows activity patterns similar to those of N. giraulti but with important differences in key circadian parameters. Differences in circadian activity patterns and parameters between species may reflect synchronization of specific life-history traits to environmental conditions. Scheduling mating or dispersion to a specific time of the day could be a strategy to avoid interspecific hybridization in Nasonia species that live in sympatry.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(3):e60167. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although sex determination is a universal process in sexually reproducing organisms, sex determination pathways are among the most highly variable genetic systems found in nature. Nevertheless, general principles can be identified among the diversity, like the central role of transformer (tra) in insects. When a functional TRA protein is produced in early embryogenesis, the female sex determining route is activated, while prevention of TRA production leads to male development. In dipterans, male development is achieved by prevention of female-specific splicing of tra mRNA, either mediated by X-chromosome dose or masculinizing factors. In Hymenoptera, which have haplodiploid sex determination, complementary sex determination and maternal imprinting have been identified to regulate timely TRA production. In the parasitoid Nasonia, zygotic transformer (Nvtra) expression and splicing is regulated by a combination of maternal provision of Nvtra mRNA and silencing of Nvtra expression in unfertilized eggs. It is unclear, however, if this silencing is directly on the tra locus or whether it is mediated through maternal silencing of a trans-acting factor. Here we show that in Nasonia, female sex determination is dependent on zygotic activation of Nvtra expression by an as yet unknown factor. This factor, which we propose to term womanizer (wom), is maternally silenced during oogenesis to ensure male development in unfertilized eggs. This finding implicates the upstream recruitment of a novel gene in the Nasonia sex determining cascade and supports the notion that sex determining cascades can rapidly change by adding new components on top of existing regulators.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(5):e63618. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural enemies may go through genetic bottlenecks during the process of biological control introductions. Such bottlenecks are expected to be particularly detrimental in parasitoid Hymenoptera that exhibit complementary sex determination (CSD). CSD is associated with a severe form of inbreeding depression because homozygosity at one or multiple sex loci leads to the production of diploid males that are typically unviable or sterile. We observed that diploid males occur at a relatively high rate (8-13% of diploid adults) in a field population of Cotesia rubecula in Minnesota, USA, where this parasitoid was introduced for biological control of the cabbage white Pieris rapae. However, our laboratory crosses suggest two-locus CSD in a native Dutch population of C. rubecula and moderately high diploid males survival (approximately 70%), a scenario expected to produce low proportions of diploid males. We also show that courtship behavior of diploid males is similar to that of haploid males, but females mated to diploid males produce only very few daughters that are triploid. We use our laboratory data to estimate sex allele diversity in the field population of C. rubecula and discuss the possibility of a sex determination meltdown from two-locus CSD to effective single-locus CSD during or after introduction.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ichneumonid wasp Venturia canescens (Hymenoptera) has been studied extensively for foraging behaviour and population dynamics of sexually (arrhenotokous) and parthenogenetically (thelytokous) reproducing individuals. Here we report the development of a set of microsatellite markers for V.canescens and use them to show that arrhenotokous individuals have more genetic variability than thelytokous ones, which are even homozygous for all tested loci. Crosses between arrhenotokous individuals suggested one marker, Vcan071, to be linked with the Complementary Sex Determiner (CSD) locus and one, Vcan109, with the Virus Like Protein (vlp-p40) locus. The genome size of V. canescens was estimated to be 274-279 Mb. We discuss how both reproductive modes can give rise to the observed genetic variability and how the new markers can be used for future genetic studies of V. canescens.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sex allocation is an important reproductive decision for parents. However, it is often assumed that females have substantial
control over sex allocation decisions, and this is particularly true in haplodiploid insects, in which females apparently
determine sex by deciding whether to fertilise an egg (and produce a diploid daughter) or not (and produce a haploid son).
Mechanisms by which males may influence sex allocation are not so straightforward, and their potential influence on sex ratios
has been somewhat neglected. Here, we test whether males influence offspring sex ratios in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. We show that some of the variation in observed sex ratios can be attributed to males when comparing the affect of male strain
on sex ratio. We did not find among-male variation in sex ratio with a less powerful experiment using males from only one
strain or an effect of male mating environment. Our data suggest that males can influence female sex ratios and contribute
to the variation around the sex ratios optimal for females. However, the influence is not large, suggesting that females have
more influence on sex allocation than do males. We conclude by considering whether male influences on sex ratio represent
differences in male reproductive competence or deliberate attempts by males to increase their fitness by influencing daughter
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 04/2012; 59(6):829-835. · 2.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A recent study in the lepidopteran Ostrinia scapulalis shows that endosymbionts can actively manipulate the sex determination mechanism of their host. Wolbachia bacteria alter the sex-specific splicing of the doublesex master switch gene. In ZZ males of this female heterogametic system, the female isoform of doublesex is produced in the presence of the bacteria. The effect is a lethal feminization of genotypic males. Curing of ZW females leads to males that die, indicating that the bacteria have an obligate role in proper sex determination and development of their host. Microbial intervention with host sex determination may be a driving force behind the evolutionary turnover of sex determination mechanisms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article describes QTL analyses for solitary (Nasonia, a parasitoid wasp) and social hymenopteran species (honeybee and bumblebee). These exemplar QTL analyses determined the genetic basis of morphological, behavioral, and colony level traits. Mapping populations were derived either from lab crosses between highly inbred strains (Nasonia spp.), lab crosses of individuals caught in the field (bumblebees), or offspring from artificially inseminated queens from a managed honeybee population. Using these examples, we demonstrate the importance of a clear understanding of the life history, breeding, and reproductive system of the organism used for a QTL analysis, e.g., haplo-diploidy or reproductive division of labor in social insects. We lead the reader step by step through the process of multiple QTL analyses and describe potential problems and roadblocks (e.g., data handling, statistical, and biological problems) that can obscure or severely impair the results of a QTL study and how to detect and deal with those problems.In particular, we provide a way to empirically estimate the Beavis effect for a larger QTL mapping population and how to estimate a more accurate value of the explained phenotypic variance of each detected QTL using a resampling procedure.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2012; 871:313-28.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Speciation has been a major focus of evolutionary biology research in recent years, with many important advances. However, some of the traditional organising principles of the subject area no longer provide a satisfactory framework, such as the classification of speciation mechanisms by geographical context into allopatric, parapatric and sympatry classes. Therefore, we have asked where speciation research should be directed in the coming years. Here, we present a distillation of questions about the mechanisms of speciation, the genetic basis of speciation and the relationship between speciation and diversity. Our list of topics is not exhaustive; rather we aim to promote discussion on research priorities and on the common themes that underlie disparate speciation processes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hybrid incompatibilities, measured as mortality and sterility, are caused by the disruption of gene interactions. They are important post-zygotic isolation barriers to species hybridization, and much effort is put into the discovery of the genes underlying these incompatibilities. In hybridization studies of the haplodiploid parasitic wasp genus Nasonia, genic incompatibilities have been shown to affect mortality and sterility. The genomic regions associated with mortality have been found to depend on the cytotype of the hybrids and thus suggest cytonuclear incompatibilities. As environmental conditions can affect gene expression and gene interaction, we here investigate the effect of developmental temperature on sterility and mortality in Nasonia hybrids. Results show that extreme temperatures strongly affect both hybrid sterility (mainly spermatogenic failure) and mortality. Molecular mapping revealed that extreme temperatures increase transmission ratio distortion of parental alleles at incompatible loci, and thus, cryptic incompatible loci surface under temperature stress that remain undiscovered under standard temperatures. Our results underline the sensitivity of hybrid incompatibilities to environmental factors and the effects of unstable epistasis.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 11/2011; 25(2):304-16. · 3.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the role of DNA methylation in insect development is still poorly understood, the number and role of DNA methyltransferases in insects vary strongly between species. DNA methylation appears to be widely present among the social hymenoptera and functional studies in Apis have suggested a crucial role for de novo methylation in a wide variety of developmental processes. The sequencing of three parasitoid Nasonia genomes revealed the presence of three Dnmt1 (Dnmt1a, Dnmt1b and Dnmt1c) genes and one Dnmt2 and Dnmt3 gene, suggesting a role of DNA methylation in Nasonia development. In the present study we show that in Nasonia vitripennis all Dnmt1 messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and Dnmt3 mRNA are maternally provided to the embryo and, of these, Dnmt1a is essential during early embryogenesis. Lowering of maternal Dnmt1a mRNA results in embryonic lethality during the onset of gastrulation. This dependence on maternal Dnmt1a during embryogenesis in an organismal group outside the vertebrates, suggests evolutionary conservation of the function of Dnmt1 during embryogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The occurrence of hybrid incompatibilities forms an important stage during the evolution of reproductive isolation. In early stages of speciation, males and females often respond differently to hybridization. Haldane's rule states that the heterogametic sex suffers more from hybridization than the homogametic sex. Although haplodiploid reproduction (haploid males, diploid females) does not involve sex chromosomes, sex-specific incompatibilities are predicted to be prevalent in haplodiploid species. Here, we evaluate the effect of sex/ploidy level on hybrid incompatibilities and locate genomic regions that cause increased mortality rates in hybrid males of the haplodiploid wasps Nasonia vitripennis and Nasonia longicornis. Our data show that diploid F(1) hybrid females suffer less from hybridization than haploid F(2) hybrid males. The latter not only suffer from an increased mortality rate, but also from behavioural and spermatogenic sterility. Genetic mapping in recombinant F(2) male hybrids revealed that the observed hybrid mortality is most likely due to a disruption of cytonuclear interactions. As these sex-specific hybrid incompatibilities follow predictions based on Haldane's rule, our data accentuate the need to broaden the view of Haldane's rule to include species with haplodiploid sex determination, consistent with Haldane's original definition.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Environmental effects on sex allocation are common, yet the evolutionary significance of these effects remains poorly understood. Environmental effects might influence parents, such that their condition directly influences sex allocation by altering the relative benefits of producing sons versus daughters. Alternatively, the environment might influence the offspring themselves, such that the conditions they find themselves in influence their contribution to parental fitness. In both cases, parents might be selected to bias their sex ratio according to the prevailing environmental conditions. Here, we consider sex allocation in the citrus mealybug Planococcus citri, a species with an unusual genetic system in which paternal genes are lost from the germline in males. We test environmental factors that may influence either female condition directly (rearing temperature and food restriction) or that may be used as cues of the future environment (age at mating). Using cytological techniques to obtain primary sex ratios, we show that high temperature, older age at mating and starvation all affect sex allocation, resulting in female-biased sex ratios. However, the effect of temperature is rather weak, and food restriction appears to be strongly associated with reduced longevity and a truncation of the usual schedule of male and offspring production across a female's reproductive lifetime. Instead, facultative sex allocation seems most convincingly affected by age at mating, supporting previous work that suggests that social interactions experienced by adult P. citri females are used when allocating sex. Our results highlight that, even within one species, different aspects of the environment may have conflicting effects on sex allocation.
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 05/2011; 65(5):909-919. · 2.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Arising from M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita & E. O. Wilson 466, 1057-1062 (2010); Nowak et al. reply. Nowak et al. argue that inclusive fitness theory has been of little value in explaining the natural world, and that it has led to negligible progress in explaining the evolution of eusociality. However, we believe that their arguments are based upon a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory and a misrepresentation of the empirical literature. We will focus our comments on three general issues.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new study in Caenorhabditis elegans shows that homologous autosomes segregate non-randomly with the sex chromosome in the heterogametic sex. Segregation occurs according to size, small autosomes segregating with, and large autosomes segregating away from the X-chromosome. Such sex-biased transmission of autosomes could facilitate the spread of sexually antagonistic alleles whose effects favor the fitness of one sex at the expense of the other. This may provide a first step toward the evolution of new sex determination systems.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis reproduces by haplodiploidy; males are haploid and females are diploid. Sex determination in Nasonia is not governed by complementary alleles at one or more sex loci. As in most other insects, the sex-determining pathway consists of the basal switch doublesex that is sex-specifically regulated by transformer. Analysis of a polyploid and a mutant gynandromorphic strain, suggested a parent-specific effect (imprinting) on sex determination in Nasonia. Zygotic activity of transformer is autoregulated and depends on a combination of maternal provision of tra mRNA and a paternal genome set. This constitutes a novel way of transformer control in insect sex determination implying maternal imprinting. The nature of the maternal imprint is not yet known and it remains to be determined how broadly the Nasonia sex-determining mechanism applies to other haplodiploids.
Journal of Genetics 09/2010; 89(3):333-9. · 0.88 Impact Factor